Yep, still cold

January 6, 2010 at 8:41 am (general life)

Today I rested (except for going out and having lunch by myself – I didn’t speak a word of English the whole time, yay!), and tonight we’ll go back to Lush for dinner (mostly because my partner and I have about $1 left, and the bar owes Bil a huge pile of free food for all the work he does).

It’s still cold outside, and my face is still attempting to fall off around the nose, but I was perfectly comfortable outside in just my voluminious skirts and down jacket (and gloves, hat, scarf and boots).

I’m still thinking about the “hero” thing, and what I can do about it. It goes without saying that my story MUST be an epic one – I’ve always known that. I have the first half of an epic tale already, with my writing. Thirteen years of trying to get novels published, plus five years of mental illness (while still writing positive, hopeful books) is certainly epic. I’m just not so sure about the self-sacrifice part.

I guess arguably I’m sacrificing good pay to write good books, but I simply can’t stomach doing anything else (oddly, even my tutoring work isn’t satisfying enough to do full-time – but it IS satisfying enough to do for the rest of my life). But I suppose a hero is meant to not be able to stomach an ordinary life – that’s what makes them a hero.

The song “What About Me” (most recently sung by Shannon Noll) tells a story about a pretty girl at a corner shop writing a novel, who has a heart’s cry of, “What about me? It isn’t fair. I’ve had enough and I want my share. Can’t you see?” Even just her desire to break out of the constraints of her small-town existence makes her a hero (at least a little bit). And small towns really aren’t a bad place to live. So it’s her passion that makes her interesting. I have plenty of passion, courage, and determination, which gives me a great start on being a hero. All I need is a deeper sense of purpose. I need to make the world better. When I’m not making the world better, staying alive is a chore. (That has been abundantly clear to me for a long time.)

I hate “Twilight”. I really do. Stephanie Meyer isn’t a bad writer, but the story is worse than hollow, it’s twisted (a 107-year old man picking up a 17-year old girl? So NOT romantic). I’m proud to recognise that my books are, in some ways, the anti-Twilight. The characters have far more interesting goals that to be super-obsessed with one another. When they ARE super-obsessed, it’s always revealed to be a mistake. Relationships in my books fail if the characters don’t have anything in common (and being emo simply isn’t enough. Ever). My characters are heroes – and reading the books has the potential to make readers into heroes, too.

The bit in the Donald Miller book that really got to me was a story about his friend, who I’ll call Frank. Frank’s thirteen-year old daughter was in a dodgy relationship with an older guy, and she’d begun taking drugs. When Frank talked to Don, he realised his daughter was choosing the best story available to her – and exciting and risk-taking one, even if it wasn’t a good one. So he thought hard and then called a family conference where he said the family was going to raise $25,000 to build an orphanage in Mexico. Not surprisingly, this was NOT received well. But after a few days, the daughter came to her parents and asked if they could travel together to Mexico, so she could write about the whole process on her blog, and show pictures of the changes in the orphans’ lives. Some months later, the daughter dumped her boyfriend, because he’d told her she was fat. The book points out that NO girl who sees herself as a hero would date such a loser.

So why can’t I (through my books) show girls and boys between 6 and 16 what a hero looks like? One of the best things about the story structure is that the hero doesn’t always win. But they’re still a hero.

I’m also hyper-protective of children and young adults, especially girls. I really like the idea of them having books that are worth reading. If I can internalise what I have felt for years, then my books really are worth building my life around (books, and God, and my husband and future children – but, although I gain more happiness from my husband than my books, I have an innate need for a more unusual story).

And here, for those who are visiting to hear about China, rather than my internal monologue, is another photo (this is made of jade, in a shop full of jade and other cool stuff – but because it was in Badaling, it was all stupidly expensive):

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1 Comment

  1. Rohan said,

    Love the hero thing – feels very true.

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